A 62-year-old Arizona woman faces a money laundering charge after police found more than $1.5 million in cash in her car during a traffic stop in Madison County.
Further investigation showed the money, packed in 27 vacuum-sealed plastic bags, was obtained through criminal activity, Madison County State's Attorney Tom Gibbons said in a news release on Wednesday.
Carole I. Galvez, of Gila Bend, Ariz., was charged Monday and faces up four to 15 years in prison if convicted.
She was being held Wednesday in the Madison County Jail in lieu of $500,000 bail.
An Illinois State Police trooper stopped Galvez about 3:30 p.m. Saturday on Interstate 55 south near Collinsville for improper lane usage and an illegal license plate cover.
"Conversation with the driver led the trooper to believe there was criminal activity," Illinois State Police spokesman Sgt. Mike Link said. "The trooper asked for and was granted consent to look further inside the (2004 Volvo)."
Link said the trooper found $1,589,860 -- the agency's largest cash seizure in years.
"Cash amounts this large are usually connected to illegal drug trafficking," Illinois State Police District 11 Commander Capt. Brad Parsons said.
Prosecutors have filed for the money to be forfeited, Gibbons said. The money would be split between the agencies involved in the investigation.
The Metropolitan Enforcement Group of Southern Illinois also worked on the investigation.